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Disposable cameras

disposable cameraI saw a post on a wedding planning Facebook page from someone complaining about disposable cameras. My first thought was “do people still use those?” I actually couldn’t believe it. I thought they went the way of film cameras.

Disposable cameras are meant for one-time use. You buy them pretty cheap and take pictures with the film that comes loaded inside. In past years, brides and grooms found it fun to put these cameras on the tables of guests then ask their guests to shoot pictures. The couple would then take these cameras to a photo shop and get the pictures printed.

It sounds like a fun idea, until you have to pay the bill for these photographs. This couple on Facebook complained that they had to spend something like 50 cents per picture to get these photos printed. No telling how these pictures turned out — that issue wasn’t addressed. But I can’t help but believe they turned out poorly.

First you have the issue of the disposable camera itself. It’s a cheap camera that isn’t meant to take good photos. Second, you have people grabbing these cameras who generally know very little about photography and what makes a good photograph. These people don’t care what they shoot. They aren’t the ones paying the film shop big bucks to print these photos, which likely are not even worth printing.

As a wedding photographer, one of my least favorite aspects of the job is walking around a reception hall shooting photos of people sitting there not doing much. Either they are eating or talking to someone. It’s never an interesting photo. The only thing to be said for these photos is it tells the bride and groom who was there. If you have a subject willing to ham it up, perhaps the photo can be fun. It’s unlikely, however, to get any photos of significance of people sitting around at a reception.

So back to the disposable cameras. I haven’t seen them at weddings in quite some time, so when someone posted a Facebook message about it I was quite surprised. It’s obvious that the couple thought putting disposable cameras on each table would be fun, and might give them some interesting photos of things they would not see otherwise. I’m willing to bet they regretted this action as soon as they took the cameras to the photo shop.

If couples want these types of photos, the solution is obvious. Ditch the disposable cameras and ask their photographer to go around to the tables to shoot photos. The photographer may not like it, but you are paying him or her to take the pictures you want. These photos likely will be a lot better than anything that could out of one of these cardboard boxes that are called digital cameras.

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